Hitter of the Day: Peter O’Brien, C, Yankees (Scottsdale Scorpions): 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR. Two days ago, O”Brien appeared on the bad part of this list, and I speculated that perhaps the difficulty of seeing time at third base was affecting him at the plate. He was back behind the plate on Thursday and hit two home runs, which proves exactly nothing other than what we already knew about him—that he has above-average power for a catcher.
Pitcher of the Day: Matt Purke, LHP, Nationals (Mesa Solar Sox): 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K. Purke battled injury, had an inconsistent season and struggled after a promotion to High-A ball, but he appears to be coming on strong in the AFL. After striking out just six batters per nine innings for Potomac, Purke is once again missing bats in the AFL. He’s now given up just an unearned run in two starts.
Seeing it Well
- Tommy La Stella, 2B, Braves (Scottsdale Scorpions): 2-2, R, 2 2B, 3 BB. Power and plate discipline is a wonder combination in a hitter and can lead to great days at the plate like the one La Stella had on Thursday. He doesn’t have home run power, but he does a good job of making consistently hard contact and driving the gap. He’s hit at every stop in the minors and draws plenty of walks too, giving him a chance to be a nice hitter at the top of a major-league order.
- Jorge Alfaro, C, Rangers (Surprise Scorpions): 2-4, 2 R, 3B. Alfaro demonstrated his good wheels (relative to the catcher position) with a triple and is now hitting .353 this fall.
- C.J. Cron, 1B, Angels (Mesa Solar Sox): 3-4, R, HR. Cron has now homered in back-to-back starts.
Finding the Zone
- Stephen McCray, RHP, White Sox (Glendale Desert Dogs). The 25-year-old McCray isn’t considered much of a prospect, but he’s made his way through the White Sox system methodically and continues to have success at every opportunity he gets. He now has 6 2/3 scoreless innings in the AFL’s hitter-friendly environments.
Bad Days at the Plate
- Delino Deshields, Jr., CF, Astros (Peoria Javelinas). 0-4, 4 K. It’s no surprise that on a day when Deshields failed to make contact his team struggled to score runs. DeShields entire offensive game is built around his legs, and he strikes out far too much for a guy who should have perennially high BABIPs and should be able to steal a few hits on weak contact. Games like this are completely unacceptable for a prospect whose only hope is to be a leadoff hitter.
- Adalberto Mejia, LHP, Giants (Scottsdale Scorpions): 1 2/3 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 2 K. Mejia has a live young left arm that will serve a role for the Giants in the majors some day, in some fashion, but he was very hittable on Thursday. To be fair, Mejia hasn’t seen a whole lot of lineups with a hitter like Alfaro batting seventh, but it’s been a rough go-round in the desert for Mejia who has given up more than a run per inning in each of his three outings thus far.
- Angel Baez, RHP, Royals (Peoria Javelinas): 1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K. There’s a couple things that could’ve gone wrong for Baez on Thursday. He’s coming back from an injury that he was just rehabbing in the AZL last month, so he may still be dealing with less than his typical premium velocity. He has erratic command, so on any given day he could grove a bunch of fastballs. Lastly, his curveball isn’t that good and his change-up is inconsistent at this point, so even if he did have his 97-mph fastball to work with, it isn’t enough once hitters realize that’s all you have that day. Regardless of the reason, it’s his second rough outing of the fall.